Health Care Innovation Collaborative Announces Open Call for Innovation

Eight leading Philadelphia organizations work with innovators to tackle chronic disease; now accepting innovation submissions for review

PHILADELPHIA, November 11, 2015 – The CEO Council for Growth (“CEO Council”) announced today that its Health Care Innovation Collaborative (“Collaborative”) has launched an open call for innovators around the country to work with its founding member organizations to tackle problems associated with chronic disease. Those who submit ideas at, an online portal managed by the CEO Council, may be selected to present their ideas to founding member organizations, and, ultimately, work directly with these organizations to accelerate innovation that improves patient care and outcomes.

The Collaborative’s Founding Members are Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Comcast, Drexel University, Independence Blue Cross, Safeguard Scientifics, Inc., Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health, and University of Pennsylvania Health System. The Collaborative was born of the CEO Council’s Health Care Innovation Task Force, co-chaired by John Fry, president of Drexel University and Daniel J. Hilferty, president & CEO of Independence Blue Cross.

“The Health Care Innovation Collaborative is the glue that is bringing the region together – both large organizations and the small, nimbler innovators – to turn Philadelphia into the national hub for health care innovation,” said Hilferty. “This open call for innovation will make it easier for young companies to present their ideas to the area’s established leaders in health care innovation, making it easier to refine, scale and – potentially — bring these ideas to market.”

The Collaborative, first announced in May, represents a new and unprecedented national model for collaboration among health care providers, academic research institutions and the investor community. The founding member organizations have positioned the region for strong continued growth and development in health care innovation.  Working together, these organizations are leveraging the unique assets of the Greater Philadelphia region to accelerate and lead the development of innovation in health care technology and delivery. The Collaborative chose to first focus on chronic diseases because they cause seven out of ten deaths every year in this country, and treatment of these diseases account for 86% of America’s health care costs.

Fry stated, “Philadelphia is reinventing itself as a place for entrepreneurs. This Collaborative is another step in demonstrating to the nation and the world that Philadelphia is the place to be for health care innovation because its major institutions are invested in finding ideas that improve people’s lives.”

Ideas can be submitted through the web portal Greater Than, managed by the CEO Council, an initiative of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia. Applicants must submit a brief proposal following the online guidelines. Applicants do not need to be in the Greater Philadelphia region. Submissions are welcome from individuals as well as domestic and international companies. The submission process opens on November 11, 2015 and closes January 15, 2016. Priority will be given to those applicants that represent opportunities to reduce costs tied to health care, potentially benefit patients or health care consumers, and have a positive impact on one or more socioeconomically disadvantaged population. The applicant notification period begins mid-March.

“At Safeguard, we work closely with our partner companies—many of which focus on the Collaborative’s theme of Chronic Disease—to fulfill the needs of providers, payors, and pharmaceutical customers. Through the Collaborative, we have a unique opportunity to provide innovators access to a cooperation of institutions working together to solve challenges in health care,” said Stephen T. Zarrilli, President and CEO of Safeguard Scientifics (NYSE:SFE).

“Philadelphia is home to world class universities, hospitals and research institutions. With these resources, we can collectively foster a new era of innovation in which these larger organizations, like Penn Medicine, work with innovators to find solutions to health care challenges related to chronic disease,” said Ralph W. Muller, CEO of the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

“At Jefferson, we are focused on finding new ways to care for our patients that drive down costs and improve their lives. The Health Care Innovation Collaborative will allow us to work with innovators and entrepreneurs to pilot new ideas that could make a real difference in how we deliver care,” stated Steven Klasko, President and CEO at Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health.

“This is the first time nationally that health care providers, universities, payors and corporations are joining together this way. At CHOP, we are excited about the potential innovations to come that can help the children and families that we serve,” said Madeline Bell, President and Chief Executive Officer at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

“We want to explore ways we can leverage the power of broadband technology to get participating organizations, and those they serve, the information they need, quickly and efficiently,” said Marc Siry, Vice President at Comcast Cable.  “Comcast looks forward to playing a role in bringing business, higher education, government and non-profit communities to support potential startups and small business innovators within the Greater Philadelphia region.”

“We are very excited by the unified approach of the Health Care Innovation Collaborative and anticipate two significant outcomes complementary to Ben Franklin’s mission—an increased number of companies and entrepreneurs that recognize Greater Philadelphia as a region committed to health care innovation and greater global awareness among investors of the exciting investment opportunities here,” said RoseAnn Rosenthal, President & CEO at Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Rob Wonderling, CEO Council Chairman and the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia & CEO, added, “The CEO Council and Chamber are proud to help facilitate this kind of collaborative and open call for innovation that can help dramatically change the landscape of the Greater Philadelphia region.”